The difference between a licensed adoption agency and a facilitator


When considering becoming parents by adoption, one of the first things you need to figure out is if you will use a lawyer, a facilitator, or a licensed adoption agency to help you with all of the steps and legal processes. While some people do choose to just get an adoption lawyer, this would usually mean they had already met a birth mother or birth parents who were seeking placement for their child and isn’t as common. A lawyer is a necessity to legally adopt, but typically, an adoption agency or a facilitator will connect you with one. 


What is an Adoption Facilitator?

An adoption facilitator is an individual that connects birth parents to a family seeking to adopt. It is important to note that more often than not, a facilitator is not licensed. In fact, because they aren’t licensed, they are illegal in several states. These are typically the states where adoption advertising is against the law. With all of that being said, why would someone work with an adoption facilitator? Because their only job is to connect and match families, they typically do a good job at this and in some instances could move faster than other services. However, make sure you know the risks before employing an adoption facilitator and check out the legality in your state before using their services. Because of these risks (and often an increased cost), adoptive parents tend to work with a licensed adoption agency. 


What Services do a Licensed Adoption Agency Provide?

A licensed adoption agency provides multiple services around adoption, is typically a 501(c)(3) not for profit and knows the legal processes/works with lawyers to ensure a smooth and legal adoption. They may also provide additional family services like counseling for birth parents considering adoption and following adoption placement, help struggling parents with resources they may need to parent, and likely provide trainings and events surrounding adoption. 

Adoption is an emotional and difficult process for all parties involved and I felt comfortable working with one because they had adoption professionals who had been working in the field for years, were working directly with lawyers, and were prioritizing birth parents’ needs. Though I would personally choose working with an agency, I know people who have gone another route due to the religious affiliations that some agencies have and some agencies work with a large number of adoptive parents which could increase wait time. 


How do I know Which one to Choose? 

You need to talk with your family and do your research. As mentioned, facilitators and their practices aren’t legal in all states. This is not to say that all facilitators are illegal or unethical, but make sure to do your research to protect children who may be placed for adoption and yourself. You’ll also need to research and fully vet an adoption agency before seeking their services. For many people, cost can be a determining factor based on their income and budget. 

Whatever choice you make, be sure to fully investigate and speak to other people who have adopted and/or birth parents who have made an adoption plan to find out who will help you navigate this process ethically with the most ease.